A huge chestnut-tree towering above the small Boker hardware-factory in the 17th century is the oldest traceable fact about the Boker family. Apparently Boker tools were very successful on the market as they were ranked among the leading manufactured goods in Germany and neighboring countries hundred years later on.
Due to rising demand in a politically restless era Hermann and Robert Boker decided to start with the production of sabers in 1829. Inventories of September 1830 had already proven a weekly production of 2000 pieces made by 64 smiths, 47 grinders and a large number of workers and trainees. With a permanently growing product line of tools and cutlery and the great opportunities of global sales, the family saw the need to distribute the tasks to make the best use of their interests. So Hermann Boker emigrated to found Boker & Co. in New York, whereas the younger Robert established his company in Canada and in 1865 a branch in Mexico, being the market leaders under the name of Casa Boker until today.
Heinrich only crossed the river Wupper to go to Solingen, where the German cutlery industry was booming. Together with the well-known cutlery expert Hermann Heuser he founded Heinr. Boker & Co. in 1869.
The Bokers in Remscheid and their cousins overseas were very interested and in demand of razors, scissors and pocket-knives from Heinrich´s new enterprise. They had to label their products in a simple manner for overseas markets, as many customers had problems spelling the German name Boker - apart from the widespread analphabetism. Heinrich considered the chestnut tree as an ideal, memorable logo which belonged to the Remscheid company with an arrow as well. One of the rare and precious documents which survived the total destruction of WW II is an ad of Boker Remscheid from 1874, showing both logos.
The relationship between the two Boker companies has always been very friendly. Heinrich was allowed to take the treebrand with him across the river without any troubles or payments. Since then not a single product has left the Solingen factory without this sign. After over 100 years of existence the venerable tree was cut down by a stroke of lightning in 1925. A gifted artist carved an image of the majestic tree into a piece of original trunk which adorns the CEO´s office in Solingen.
The US market quickly became Boker's most important sales territory. In 1900 most of the production was shipped to the US and H. Boker & Co. in New York was more and more concentrating on products from the Solingen production. The demand for pocket-knives soon beat that for other products like scissors or razors. The demand on the products increased faster than the production capacities in Solingen, so the Bokers from New York decided to start their own pocket-knife production to which pliers were added later on.
World War II
Because of the tree-brand being well established by then and the good understanding within the international Boker family, there wasn´t any problem to get permission from Solingen to use the tree-brand for American made products as well. Since then there have been two different product lines of Boker knives on the US market with identical logos and sometimes even identical item numbers; one product line Made in USA, the other product line Made in Solingen, only to be differentiated by the markings "Boker USA" or "H. Boker Improved Cutlery Solingen".
During WW II the contact to the US stopped. The Solingen factory was completely destroyed with no remaining machines, tooling, catalogues or samples. The few old originals we have at our disposal today survived the war, because they were in private ownership and have been provided to us after the war. The company also lost one of its most precious commodities: the tree-brand registration was seized according to US law. John Boker jr. bought it in New York to save it for the further sale of American and German products. Soon after the war new life awakened in the destroyed factory. The former craftsmen came back and helped to reconstruct buildings and production to regain the high standard of production quality.
Restoring their business relationship with Solingen, the American cousins placed first orders. Within a few years Boker New York was the main customer again. The models 7588, 7474 and the old flagship model 182 couldn´t cross the Atlantic ocean fast enough to reach Boker friends all over the country.
In the early 1960's Boker USA was sold to the well-known scissor manufacturer Wiss & Sons who kept up the production of Boker knives to sell them with other Solingen products. Boker scissors disappeared from the market, being a competitor to Wiss. In the early 1970's Wiss was sold to the multinational Cooper Industries. This change proved benificial for Boker, generating a close business and personal relationship with Cooper, who restored the name of Boker to its former grandeur.
During the eight years this active relationship lasted, Solingen was able to rationalise production and to develop new and innovative products. Today Boker offers the broadest range of sports and collector´s knives with an unmatched variety of blade and handle materials. Cooper stopped their own knife production in 1983. Original models are still in production in Solingen. Three years later Boker Solingen reacquired the rights for the American brand as a result of friendly negotiations with Cooper and was therefore in the position to enter the huge American market on it’s own. Boker USA, Inc. was established in Denver In July 1986 , Colorado. Since then Boker USA is operating very successfully in the North-American markets.
In 1983, the subsidiary Boker Arbolito S. A. was also founded in Buenos Aires. The main products manufactured there are household and professional knives, as well as high quality hunting and outdoor knives in traditional design. Thanks to the pioneer work of the Boker family in South America in the 19th and 20th century, the name Boker Arbolito is very well established and connected to high quality cutting tools the South American markets of Argentina, Chile and Mexico. Due to the high importance of the North and South American markets for the Boker Manufactory Solingen, the company logo has been showing the names Treebrand and Arbolito in addition to the Boker logo since 1947.